Dr. Phil irritates me. My DVR list used to be chock full of episodes of his show, and I was usually glued to the television as he put addicts and philandering spouses in their places. Usually some kind of rehab paid for by the facilities as a form of advertising that we’re not supposed to notice. At least my life wasn’t a total train wreck compared to the guests sitting on his stage, I thought as I watched. But over time he grates, doesn’t he? He’s pompous and loud and acts pretty superior to the rest of us. He and Robin in all their wealth and glamour get a bit too much in these days of so many people in need. Maybe I'm just jealous.
So, now my DVR records lighter programming, like Family Feud. At least everyone in those families is giggling and slapping hands over their silly answers full of innuendo, instead of slapping each other with paternity suits. Come to think of it maybe it’s really the same thing, just with a funnier host.
There is one gem of wisdom from Dr. P that remains tucked in my psyche, I have to admit.
“Past behavior is a predictor of future behavior.” I pull that one out often and polish it up for my daughter and other young people. It’s a good one to carry around in your pocket, I’ve found. Generally, if someone has betrayed your trust once, it stretches the limits of wisdom if you hand it over to them a second time, for example.
“Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…..” and all that, you know.
Yes, you there in the back of the room. You have a question? Oh, you want to know why I’m channeling Dr. Phil and his wisdom today? You all know me well by now, don’t you?
Someone from my past has reappeared, someone whose eyes still have the capability of consuming me and burning me to a crisp. As they did once before, when I trusted his passionate pursuit and words of commitment and caring. My world literally glowed then, taking on the hue of FOREVER, a word he gently handed to me like an elegantly wrapped gift. A word I was heartbreakingly receptive to at that point in time.
FOREVER apparently came from a different dictionary for him, as you probably have guessed by now. It ended ugly, let’s leave it at that. Therapy was required. My world collapsed. As did I for over a year. I went to work, I moved through my days with my pain undetected by most people, but I was a shell of a woman who had had everything promised only to have it snatched away in an instant. And then given to someone else. Someday I’ll share the rest of the story, but I can only stare at it, even today, for short periods of time.
And here he is again. In my younger, more foolish days, I would have been tempted. Oh, shoot, let me be honest. I’m still tempted. I’m human. And to make it even more dangerous, I am alone. I have no idea what he is thinking, but that isn't the point. I don't care. I know my own capabilities, I know my ability to laser in on a goal, my singlemindedness. And I know my weaknesses better now, too, such as my tendency to be motivated by a challenge, which sounds like a good thing. But sometimes it isn't. Take my word for it.
But Dr. Phil’s words have been buzzing around, trying to protect me from myself, tapping me sharply on the shoulder, and thumping my forehead when I start thinking, “Well, maybe this time…..”
It’s this simple: If someone betrays your trust once, they will do it again. I believe this.
There won’t be any fooling me twice.